Irene spends her life nit-picking over every casual slight from any hotel front-desk clerk, or noting exactly how long room service takes to deliver her order before she sticks her thermometer in first the wine and then the soup. That’s all before she strips the bed down completely to see how soft and clean the linen is. She is one tough cookie but it’s all in a day’s work for her as she jet sets around the globe to see if the world’s best hotels should retain their 5 Star rating.
Her obsession with minute detail when she is tasting all this luxury really fulfills her which is just as well as when she lands back home in Italy, her rather empty single life is juxtaposed with all the unruly chaos of the people that surround her. There is her old flame Andrea who is now her best friend and who jolts Irene out of her complacency of the coziness of their relationship when he announces that he is about to become the father of a child with one of his recent one night stands. Then there is her rather scatter-brained self-absorbed sister Sylvia whose marriage to her musician husband has grown stagnant which seems to be an excuse for her constantly riling Irene about being an unmarried forty-something-year-old woman.
This inoffensive and quite charming gentle movie from Italian director Maria Sole Tognazzi is essentially not a great deal more than a travelogue for all the rather splendid hotels that Irene spends her days dissecting. It also serves as a detailed job description for anyone wishing to take this up as a career. Asides from that it starts with Irene content with traveling alone through work and life, and after a couple of minor diversions, its ends on exactly the same note.
Asides from the Hotels, it also stars Margherita Buy and Stefano Accorsi who had previously worked together in ‘His Secret Life’ & ‘Saturn In Opposition’. Plus a refreshing cameo performance from Brit actor Lesley Manville that looked like it may liven up the pace of the piece somewhat but then when her character gets killed off suddenly, so does all hope of any real fun for poor Irene and us.